Stress is how you respond to daily life. It can either make you do more or cause you sleep problems. If high levels of stress are left unmanaged for long periods of time, your health and wellbeing will suffer. Not all causes of insomnia and sleep deprivation are related to stress, but most people who are experiencing considerable stress can develop insomnia, without even knowing it! Stress can impact your life in many ways. Losing sleep over something and not getting enough sleep at night, makes your body boosts its levels of stress hormones.
Sleep deprivation due to stress keeps your body pumping out the stress hormones even the next day. The stress hormones usually peak in the afternoon and early evening, just when you thought you should be relaxing. Just in case you are not aware yet, the quality and length of your sleep decrease as your level of stress increases.
When you spend the night tossing and turning, you already know the next day you will feel tired, cranky, groggy, and out of sorts, plus experiencing low mental alertness, lack of focus, and poor performance. Stress and sleep deprivation has been linked from weight gain to a weakened immune system.
The obvious signs of sleep deprivation are excessive sleepiness, irritability, yawning, and daytime fatigue. To live a happy and productive life, you have to learn to manage your stress. Stress definitely affects sleep!
Don’t you know that insomniacs have a greater number of stressful life events? A recent research found out that if you have a lot of events in life that are quite stressful, the degree to which you believe the events are stressful can result in an insomnia. Obviously, sleep can actually influence how much stress you experienced, while stress can influence the amount and quality of sleep you get at night.
7 out of 10 adults in the US claimed they experienced stress or anxiety daily, and mostly said it interferes with their lives, that sometimes they experienced a panic attack. There is also a link between sleep and mood. People who were not able to sleep well are sort of short tempered, irritable, and vulnerable to stress.
Studies have shown people who slept for only 4.5 hours at night for a week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. Anxiety increases agitation and arousal, which makes it more difficult to sleep and to stay at sleep. Stress makes the body aroused, awake, and alert.
No matter what your age or occupation, a lack of sleep can throw your system off balance. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are missing the chance to take a break from stress. Lack of sleep can boost your stress hormones the next morning.
Struggling with sleeplessness for weeks or months can raise your volume of stress. Those with the worst sleep produced especially large amounts of ACTH and stress hormones throughout the day and night. Chronic mental and physical stress has been suggested as triggers of cardiovascular events.
A reduction in the levels of intracellular magnesium caused vasoconstriction while enhancing platelet dependent thrombosis. From the little discussion that we had in this article about sleep and stress, you should now realize that sleep is an important component of the human homeostasis. Sleep disorders caused by stress are closely associated with significant medical, psychological, and social disturbances.
How do you define and understand stress?
Stress is a complex condition with emotional, cognitive and biological factors. Being in a situation that causes excessive stress, may result in a long or short term disability in the various human systems. Since the body’s stress systems play a critical role in adapting to a continuously changing and challenging environment, it is important to know the association of stress to sleep and how lack of sleep increases your stress levels.
Stress is a reaction of the body and mind to change called as the stressors. Stressors can be an internal stressor, which are the feelings that cause stress, or an external stressor, which are things outside a person that cause stress.
Everyone has stress, but an ongoing or chronic stress can lead to serious health problems. Stressors can send the stress hormones racing through the body. The hormones signal blood to move to the heart and other organs.
Stress hormones prepare the body to protect itself from danger and those that experienced stress might suddenly feel hot. The heart may beat faster while the muscles get tense. The hands and feet may feel cold or clammy.
People under stress may feel like they can smell, see, and taste things more clearly. In addition, the senses may become sharper. When the stressor disappears, the stress hormones quiet down and the body gradually goes back to normal. Here are what you normally feel and do when you are stressed
- Want to be alone
- Fight or argue
- Bite nails
- Sleep deprivation
- Cry easily
- Lack of focus
- Lose interest in work, school, or other daily activities
- Constantly depressed, anxious, or tired
- Poor eating habits
- Makes you lazy and clumsy
- Ignore hobbies and other things necessary for personal pleasure
- Experience headaches and stomachaches
- Experience migraines and dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- Muscular problems, or pains or tensions that lead to pulled muscles
Stress can make you feel angry, scared, or sad, which is very unhealthy. If a person is upset, he may feel like crying all the time. Unhealthy stress can cause you to feel constantly nervous and on the edge.
Stressed people usually have headaches or stomachaches or even body pain. People living in a stressful environment may have chronic stress, which means having stress hormones that work overtime. After a while, they get burned out, the body weakens and grows tired.
Chronic stress can result in high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke. Stress is part of life, but you have to manage it perfectly, so it does not control you! Chronic stress is very serious and may require a professional help. It is unrelenting and a constant part of the person’s life.
Obviously, the person may not even recognize the symptoms because of their constant presence over the years. It can arise from feeling trapped in an unhappy marriage or a hated career. It can also stem from a trauma or one’s troubling way of looking at the world, which is one reason this can lead to death through stroke or heart attack, suicide or violence.
Believe it or not, you blood actually clots faster, when you are under stressed. When your brain perceives the danger, it sets a biological reaction by releasing chemicals into your body, which sets your nervous system in high gear. This chain reaction makes your heart pumps faster and your breathing to accelerate to take in extra oxygen.
Your reflexes or your body naturally gives a fight or flight response. Ultimately, stress responses help humans survive in dangerous situations. However, long term stress undeniably contributes to long term health conditions, which may include ulcers and mental effects.
Because it prevents the body from resting, it tends to reduce focus and decreases productivity or performance. When you are burned out, you are not able to reach the deeper levels of sleep necessary to keep you from feeling groggy. Stress can result in the breakdown of the body’s immune system.
It can have major effects on your wellbeing, because the human body was never meant to deal with prolonged chronic stress. We are not supposed to drag around bad memories, anxieties and frustrations. Here is the pathology of stress
- At the first sign of stress, your medulla oblongata secretes adrenaline, which floods your body.
- The cortex of your adrenal gland secretes cortisol that regulates metabolism and immunity, but can be toxic over time.
- Your pupils dilate and the hair on your body stands on end.
- Your digestion system shuts down to divert all energy to your muscles.
- Your spleen allows extra red blood cells to flow, carrying more oxygen to your muscles.
- Your liver converts glycogen to glucose to give you more energy.
- Your lungs take in more oxygen.
- Your heart rate and blood pressure rise.
- While you are ready to fight your stressors, your immune system’s infection fighting ability is significantly reduced.
The fight or flight response may have negative effects on your body. Your brain may be affected by the toxic cortisol secreted by your cortex. As a result, you experience an impaired memory and cognitive ability, in addition to a weakened immune system.
The constant lack of blood flow, as a result of the digestive system shutting down during your heightened state, may strain under nourished cells in your intestines. Being in a condition of constant elevated blood pressure and heart rate may damage blood vessels and mucus lining and cause ulcers.
Repeatedly high stress levels can cause you to look old and feel run down, which also affect your peace of mind. Excessive stress can cause
- Reduced creativity
- Reduced productivity
One way to manage the pathology of stress is to maintain your normal body weight. The extra body fat may induce stress, which researchers hypothesized may be stored near the liver or the middle of the body so it can metabolize quickly. The body draws on fat reserves near the liver for energy during a stress reaction.
In one study, it was found that women may feel more stressed than men, because they generally take a far reaching view of life. Women often worry about many things at a time, while men compartmentalize their worries and deal with only one stressor before moving on to the next one.
A person raised in a stressful environment, with violence or verbal abuse, becomes more susceptible to stress later in life. Children accustomed to high adrenaline levels often feel uncomfortable or bored when their body is in a state of calm. Depending on your personal history or your current household environment, you may be more or less susceptible to stress.
Stress is a plague
Stress is called as the modern day plague. It can take many forms and come from many sources. It is definitely an unwanted companion along the road of life. Finding the balance of how much we can really squeeze into life means, we have to learn how to fight stress the best way possible.
Having been found as a causal factor in a variety of diseases, such as cancer, mental illness, or even the common cold, stress is currently receiving a tremendous amount of attention in the medical world. Burnout is a stress reaction that affects the psychological, emotional, and at times physical withdrawal from a formerly pursued and enjoyable activity.
It is true that stress has now become a significant individual and public health problem associated with numerous physical and mental health concerns, such as stress related illnesses, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, immune system suppression, headaches, back and neck pain, and sleep problems. Stress also influences behaviors that affect health. It can relatively increase the risk for chronic diseases and other health problems.
Stress management tips
If you want to know how to eliminate stress, get connected with someone who is without stress. How you deal with stress is entirely up to you. For myself, I blog and do travel photography. These activities keep me occupied and reduces my time to really think about stress. In fact, it has changed me from being lonely and depressed to being a woman of can do attitude or simply a go getter!
Take control of your life and keep off your stressors. How you experience stress depends on your personal view of the stressor. Your reaction to events in life is what determines whether the outcomes will be positive or negative. The key is finding the proper balance.
Stress and physical and emotional health are closely related. Stress is a risk factor of the serious health problems that plague us today. It has been shown to weaken the immune system, and cause disease and illness. Exercises help you manage stress big time.
You can go swimming, walking, jogging, or running on your own if you want. Get moving to better manage stress. Exercise in almost any form is a perfect stress reliever. A regular exercise pumps up your endorphins, relax you, lower the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, as well as ease your stress levels.
The physical benefits of exercise, such as improving your physical condition and fighting diseases have long been established. Staying physically active can maintain mental fitness as well as reduce stress, which can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy and your ability to concentrate.
Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest that a 10 minute walk may be just as good as a 45 minute workout. One study suggests that those who get themselves involved in a regular vigorous exercise are 25% less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next 5 years.
Isometrics is a type of strength training done in a static position and contracting a muscle against resistance without moving the joint. In other words, you are tensing the muscle without actually moving. Known as static strength training, you can see it in a variety of positions, such as wall squat, isometric shoulder raise, or holding a light weight parallel to the ground.
Listening to music can help reduce your stress levels. Slow down and take 5 minutes to focus on only one behavior with awareness. When you spend time in the moment and focus on your sense, you will feel less tense, such as enjoying the texture and taste of each bite of food. Reach out to your social network. Talking to others and sharing what is going on can be your best tool for stress.
For me, I do exercise, listen to music, eat healthy, and blog. Doing some research and blogging makes you do something you enjoy, and also help you let your feelings and thoughts out, while connecting with others in a creative activity. The soothing power of music has a tremendous relaxing effect on our minds and bodies. It has the power to slow the pulse and heart rate, lower blood pressure and decrease the level of stress hormones.
Davidson, J. (2001). Stress management. IN: MacMillan USA Inc.
Gregson, S. R. (2000). Stress management. Capstone Press.
Middleton, K. (2009). Stress: How to de-stress without doing less. England: Lion Hudson.
Stress can kill you if you do not manage it on time! If you don’t adapt and develop a good stress management program for yourself, it surely can kill! Stress is a massive power of self-destruction that can make you sick and shorten your life.
I repeat, long term chronic stress can wreck your nervous system and cause oxidative damage to tissues in the bodies that leads to inflammation. Stress accelerates the aging process, harm your immune system, and even shrink vital brain tissue resulting in memory loss and problems with concentration.